Romanian Cathedral Recovered After 60 Years

Communist Regime Had Given It to the Orthodox Church

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ORADEA, Romania, DEC. 12, 2005 ( The Romanian cathedral of Oradea has been returned to Eastern-rite Catholics after having been the property of the Orthodox for 60 years.

The restitution of St. Nicholas Cathedral to the Greek-Catholics took place Nov. 20, on the eve of the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple.

«All of us who attended have written a page of history. We celebrated together with patriarchs, metropolitans, Catholic and Orthodox bishops, for the greater glory of God,» said Greek-Catholic Bishop Virgil Bercea of Oradea Mare.

The building of the cathedral was begun by Greek-Catholic Bishop Ignavie Darabant and completed by Bishop Samuil Vulcan, of the same rite, in 1810.

During the Communist regime, the cathedral and other real estate and properties of the Greek-Catholics were expropriated by the state and turned over to the Orthodox Church, Romania’s state church.

After 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Greek-Catholic Church began negotiations to recover its properties.

Among those attending the Nov. 20 ceremony were Orthodox Bishop Joan Mihaltan of Oradea, Bihor and Salaj; Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Greek-Catholic patriarch of Ukraine; Adrian Lemeni, a government official responsible for worship; 17 Latin-rite and Eastern-rite Catholic bishops from Romania and abroad; and thousands of faithful.

Bishop Bercea, 48, said at the event: «I want to thank the priests and seminarians, our dear faithful, who, coming to the cathedral today, made me weep with them.»

«But they have been tears of joy,» he added, «and these tears, yours and mine, will surely help us to wash away all the evil there has been in our midst, so that between Orthodox and Greek-Catholics only love, good will and forgiveness will prevail.»

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